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The Mind's Eye 

Volume 2 

Number 4 


The Mind's Eye ts a journal ot review and comment 
published monthly during the college year 
at North Adams, Massachusetts 01247 

March 197B 


W Anthony Gengarelly 
Stephen A. Green 
R, Michael Haines 
Charles A. Mc Isaac 
Thomas A. Mulkeen 


Charles A. Mclsaac 

Richard C. Lamb 

Samuel H. Clarke 

John T. McNulty 6 


What a new mayor finds out in two months 


The connection between language learning 
and self-direction 

Knowledge of the Western tradition 
is indispensable to a life well lived 




Sarah Clarke 

Consumption of fossil fuels and forests 
may threaten life on earth 


Charles A. Mclsaac 

3 The Editor's File 


With a Reply by Michael Haines 

8 Contributors 

The Mind's Eye welcomes contributions. Your research, comment, 
reflections, reviews, letters, poetry, fiction are invited. 


by Richard C. Lamb 

Editor's note: Richard C. Lamb is the 
youngest mayor in the history of North 
Adams. The Mind's Eye invited him to 
describe his initial feelings as chief 
executive of the city. 

It is different than it seems — this job 
of being mayor. There clearly is less 
glamor and more work, fewer far-reaching 
decisions, more attention to detail. 

It is interesting and challenging, 
sometimes frustrating, usually fun, but 
always unpredictable. That unpredicta- 
bility, the subtle element of surprise, 
surfaces constantly and produces the 
ultimate fascination of the job. 
Industrial development, downtown revital- 
ization, and the budget appear initially 
as the central issues; but, comes a winter 
storm, and all else pales to insignifi- 
cance before the all-encompassing concern 
for snow removal. Legions of phone calls, 
finally reducing to lectures on civic 
responsibilities, fail to produce a chair- 
man for the Traffic Commission; but the 
office is barraged with applications for 
the dog officer's position. 

Lessons in the unpredictable are coupled 
with less palatable exercises in 
bureaucracy. Government takes time — it's 
axiomatic, and everyone knows it. It 
doesn't make it any easier to take. 

A new half-million-dollar shredder at the 
landfill is ready to go on line, but 
start-up is threatened by the injured 
cries of a state environmental control 
agency. The mayor dutifully responds that 
project approval was won only after an 
environmental review so exhaustive that 
it did everything but count the barn 
swallows. His protests are in vain. They 
lead only to ominous talk of "taking it 
to the Attorney General." So turns the 
bureaucratic wheel. 

Criticism abounds, but it is tinged with 

humor and loaded with irony. A walk down 
Main Street to a midafternoon negotiating 
session at the School Department elicits 
a passing comment, "Nice hours if you can 
get them." In contrast, working late 
with light burning for all to see seems 
admirable enough, but the interpretation 
is not so kind: "The kid can't handle it. 
He's back every night catching up." 

Two campaign supporters are appointed to 
a prestigious committee of nine, and 
cries of patronage and political payoff 
resound. One loyal follower remains 
without a post and complains bitterly 
about the sin of forgetting old friends 
in a hurry. 

Failure to upbraid publicly a department 
head for speaking out against an 
administration position leads to charges 
of weak leadership. Mere mention, 
politely phrased, of the possibility of 
a merger with a neighboring town 
produces instant murmurs of Napoleonic 
dictatorship . 

At times, it seems hard to win. 

What then does a new mayor learn in two 
months on the job? He learns to sign his 
name with a new-found flare — partly 
because he does it so often and partly 
to conceal the rather indicting fact that 
he is not always sure what he is signing. 
He learns, very quickly, to say no. He 
develops a new sense of humility. If he 
doesn't, he should — because he is 
reminded of the propriety of same every 
day by many people in many ways. 

The much acclaimed "perks" of office are 
few in number and lacking in any real 
appeal. The highly touted honeymoon 
period is an absolute fallacy. Notes of 
congratulation devolve quickly into 
sarcastic, stinging diatribes. The job 
is tough and perplexing, demanding and 
thankless . 

This new mayor loves every minute of it. 


The Editor ' s File 

by Charles A. Mc Isaac 

Behind our house fifty acres of pasture 
slope gently up to the woods where deer 
live. For fifty weeks of the year it is 
a peaceable place. The foxes and hawks 
go about their timeless task of 
controlling the mouse population, as does 
our cat, who thinks the meadow belongs to 
him — or did, until the fox chased him out 
of there one day. In spring and summer 
evenings the deer come out to feed, 
staying well away from the house until 
after dark; in fall nights they jump the 
fence to eat apples in our yard. 
Startled by headlights turning into the 
driveway, they take off in great bounds, 
white tails flying. They are an elegant, 
comforting presence. 

Then comes November and hunting season. 
On its first day, 1977, I sat at the 
breakfast table reading, "unhearing" the 
flat splatting of rifle fire (gunshots 
don't ring), telling myself that only one 
hunter in ten gets "his" deer and that 
the herd is too large anyhow and needs to 
be thinned out for its own good. Not 
enough food to go around. Suddenly there 
was a shot which, it too slowly dawned on 
me, was closer than the others. I looked 
out the window. A hundred yards above 
the house stood two orange-suited hunters. 
Directly between me and them, not thirty 
feet from the fence was a wounded deer, 
all his grace and glory gone, almost 
slinking — if you can imagine a deer 
slinking — toward death. More shots came 
from the orange suits. The deer hobbled 
an agonizing hundred yards before one put 
him down, with a repulsive convulsion, by 
the brook from which he had daily drunk. 
Not dead yet, head up, he gazed around 
seeming to wonder. Barbara wept; I choked 
back an angry lump of rage and sorrow. 
Two more slugs, sending up sprays from the 
damp ground, ricocheted across the well- 
traveled road. The third entered the 
lovely head, and the deer was gone from 
this world. The men in orange had their 
buck; it had required ten shots: two 

crippling, one fatal, seven wild. Not to 
mention how many were wasted running the 
deer out of the woods and a quarter of a 
mile down the pasture, for it turned out 
that there were not two orange suits but 
four . 

The image of that noble animal's 
submitting to insult would not leave me 
for weeks, evoking a pain of outrage and 
helpless pity in my heart. Time heals 
all wounds, but the scar tissue from this 
one will remain, a permanent memento of 

What is hunting? For some it is a 
necessary annual rite, a mystical 
experience, a democracy of all manner of 
men from statesmen to mechanics 
ineluctably drawn to a pursuit as old as 
mankind. Each fall, their employers 
suffer their week's absence in 
sympathetic silence. 

For others, hunters whose families 
struggle in modest circumstances, the 
animal's meat is a necessity of life; and 
they should have a longer season. 
Several hundred dollars' worth of venison 
is not only a boon to their tables but 
makes a difference in the clothing and 
education of their children. But what 
Solomon will judge who is needful and who 
is not? 

In the case of far too many more, hunting 
is a week's macho bash for Clockwork 
Orange invaders, beer can litterers, 
shoo t-at-any thing- that-moves nuts — 
killers of cows, pets, and people — 
trigger-happy Americans, seven-day lords 
of the world. What will conscientious 
hunters do about them? What can they do? 
They are outnumbered. 

It is a fact of history that hunters — 
Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot 
preeminent among them — were prime movers 
in the conservation movement. Hunters 


were instrumental in the Hounding of the 
National Audubon Society, the National 
Wildlife Federation, and the Nature 
Conservancy. In recent years, pressure 
from sports fishermen has been a 
principal cause of the cleanup of some 
Midwest waterways, including parts of 
badly polluted Lake Michigan. 
Nevertheless, times have changed, and the 
conservation ethic has moved from game- 
species preservation to an ecosystem 
orientation. This is a new ball game 
based on scientific principles only dimly 
recognized at the beginning of the 
century. The degeneration of 
recreational hunting into a shoot-' em-up 
ethos has brought the whole hunting 
community into conflict with a growing 
social discernment that not only is it 
morally wrong to slaughter animals for 
pleasure, but that indiscriminate killing 
( vide the eagle, falcon, wolf, coyote, 
whale, dolphin) upsets the balance of 
nature and, in any case, Is a rupture of 
the solidarity of earthly species of 
which man is a member. Subsistence 
hunting remains a necessity in certain 
places and circumstances, as does the 
rare instance of self-defense. Apart 
from these, satisfaction of the urge to 
kill a lesser being runs counter to a new 
conservation ethic. Man, the most highly 
evolved of earth's creatures, must take 
responsibility for the welfare of all his 
brothers, lest his own technological 
achievements wipe them from the face of 
the earth, leaving the planet untenable 
as a place to live. 

Michael Haines, whose article 
"On Hunting" in the October/November 
Mind ' s Eye inspired the editor's 
disparate view, replies. 

After describing a particularly brutal 
death (in World War I) , Wilfred Owen 
quotes Horace's "dulce et decorum est pro 
patria mori" (it is sweet and becoming to 
die for one's country), which he calls 
"the Old Lie." Owen was not unpatriotic: 
he went on to give up his own life for 
his country. His point was, simply, that 
death is not sweet and becoming. 

And that would be the first point I would 
make in response to Charles Mclsaac: 
death is not pretty — ever. Some may be 
less brutal than others, and slobs like 
Mclsaac 's orange-suited monsters 
can, in their incompetence, make death 
especially ugly. But I wonder — how many 
would continue to eat hamburger if they 
witnessed a steer's death in a 

Besides, that deer which died so brutally 
before the angry eyes of Mclsaac 
and the weeping eyes of his wife did have 
a chance. How much chance did the steer 
have? From the moment he was born he was 
destined for the table — never allowed the 
privilege of roaming free, never being 
given an opportunity to escape the 
inevitable, and suffering the final 
indignity of being crowded into a feeder 
lot to be fattened before entering the 

Who, I would ask, is the more brutal, the 
more callous — the man who accepts the 
predator niche evolution has carved out 
for him, who recognizes his place at the 
end of the food chain, who kills his own 
meat? or is it the man who, like Pilate, 
washes his hands and lets the slaughter- 
house do his killing for him and thereby 
claims no responsibility, claims a 
specious moral superiority? 

Before we leave the subject of brutal 
deaths, let me suggest that those who 
think the downing of a deer by a rifle is 
ugly should see a deer who has starved 
because the food supply was insufficient 
to support a herd whose ranks were not 
thinned by hunters. Or, a deer so 
weakened by hunger that he could not 
escape the dogs of those unthinking people 
who refuse to restrain their animals. 
Or, a deer torn apart on a highway because 
hunger forced him nearer to danger than 
he would customarily go. And it is the 
concern Mclsaac mentioned for a 
balanced ecosystem that makes us so aware 
of the utter necessity for hunting in an 
ecology without other predators. 

But, I will concede, there are slobs in 
the sport — as there are slobs everywhere 
(I would not argue for the elimination of 


sex because there are rapists, 
pornographers, and insensitive bed- 
hoppers), and no one hates the slob hunter 
more than the hunter who loves his sport. 
Finally, though it might be hard for 
nonhunters to understand, there are few 
who love game animals more than those who 
hunt them: the kill Is not without its 
twinges of remorse, its ambivalences. 
Perhaps the attitude is best expressed by 
a prayer addressed by an Indian hunter to 
his kill: 

I am sorry I had to kill thee, Little 
Brother . 

But I had need of thy meat. . . . 
I will do honor to thy courage, thy 

strength, and thy beauty. 
See, I will hang thy horns upon this 

tree. . . . 
Each time I pass, I will remember thee 

and do honor to thy spirit. 
I am sorry I had to kill thee. 
Forgive me, Little Brother. . . . 


Carbon dioxide is a trace atmospheric gas 
whose importance is twofold: as a regula- 
tor (by trapping the sun's energy) of the 
earth's temperature and as the basis (by 
photosynthesis) of all terrestrial life. 

One of its sources is the combustion of 
fossil fuels. In the energy debate, warn- 
ings frequently appear that use of coal 
will put too much carbon dioxide into the 
air, disrupting the climate by raising the 
earth's temperature. The actual case may 
be even worse. Fossil fuel burning gives 
only half of carbon dioxide production. 
The other half comes chiefly from the for- 
ests of the world which, instead of being 
sinks for CO2, are now known to be net 
producers. And they are increasing in 
output as we cut them down for agricul- 
ture, industry, and housing. By the year 
2020 the air's content of C0 2 will have 
doubled and we may very well be facing 
catastrophic climatic and social changes. 

The problem is explained by George M. 
Woodwell in "The Carbon Dioxide Question," 
(Scientific Am erican , January) . 



by Samuel H. Clarke 

Editor's note: During winter Study, 
1978, a lecture series, "The Idea of 
Freedom," was presented weekly. Professor 
Clarke here records some thoughts on the 
psychological meaning of human freedom. 

Gordon Liddy is said to have demonstrated 
his personal freedom for action by 
keeping his fingers in a flame. While 
most of us would hesitate to hold a 
candle to this kind of achievement, we 
are conscious of human ability to act in 
ways contrary to the immediate reinforce- 
ments and punishments that would 
otherwise control our behavior. Recog- 
nition of this ability tempts us to put 
the matter of personal choice beyond the 
reach of a strict scientific determinism. 
On the other hand, a belief in Darwinian 
evolution causes us to look for its 
explanation in the continuum of species. 

A good place to start is the relatively 
recent work on language learning with 
chimpanzees begun in 1966 by Allen and 
Beatrice Gardner. Aware of previous 
failures to teach chimps a vocal language, 
the Gardners trained their first animal, 
Washoe, to use the American Sign Language. 
Basic signs in this language are called 
cheremes and are analogous to phonemes in 
spoken language. Some of these cheremes 
are associated with configurations of the 
hands, others with the place relative to 
the rest of the body that a sign is made, 
and still others with movements of the 
hands . 

Washoe and the other chimps who soon 
joined in this research proved to be 
remarkably adept students. Although many 
raisins were needed to keep motivation 
levels high at the beginning, a gradually 
increasing requirement that the chimps 
sign for goals important to themselves 
(getting various kinds of food, being 
tickled, etc.) resulted in the language 
becoming an important part of their 
behavioral repertoires. New signs came 
to be learned through imitation; pairs 


and triplets of signs were put together 
in novel combinations. Lucy coined the 
expressions "cry-hurt-food" for radishes 
and "drink-fruit" for watermelons. 

Not only did the chimps learn both to 
give and to follow instructions; they 
spontaneously learned to combine these 
abilities in the control of their own 
behavior. Washoe is in a room by herself. 
Before her on the floor lies, upside 
down, a Bella Abzug hat. The chimp signs 
to herself, "Washoe-in-hat . " She then 
dives head first into the crown of the 
hat. Thus an even artificially acquired 
capacity for language takes some control 
over behavior. 

The human capacity for self-control is 
also a consequence of language learning. 
As neurologically normal children, we 
sooner or later learned to follow verbal 
instructions. Soon after, we extended 
this knowledge to the use of instructions 
as a means of controlling the behavior of 
others. Once acquired, these two 
abilities combine in the control of our 
own behavior. 

Our consciousness of having the capacity 
for this kind of control is the basis 
for our sense of having a personal will. 
That it functions as well as it does in 
the face of adverse contingencies makes 
it easy to believe that one's will is 
somehow free. This apparent freedom is 
probably the result of culturally 
controlled child rearing practices. 
Supported by religious and other insti- 
tutions, parents at least partially 
convince their children that someone 
(God, Santa Claus, et al.) knows every 
thought. Good thoughts, more or less 
clearly identified, are carefully 
associated with real and imagined 
rewards; evil thoughts are conversely 
associated with punishments — sometimes 
eternal. Fortunately, as children 
mature, moral imperatives based on magi- 
cal thinking slowly give way to ethical 
considerations based on conceptual 
knowledge regarding long-term conse- 
quences of behavior. Smoking stops being 
something you just don't do and becomes 
something that gives you lung cancer. 
The outcome is the emergence of two 

relatively independent and often 
conflicting kinds of behavioral control. 
There is the control, which we share with 
other animals, imposed on behavior by its 
immediate consequences. And there is the 
kind of control which results from the 
moral conditioning of a personal will. 
The existence of this will and our 
relative freedom from the otherwise 
absolute tyranny of immediate behavioral 
consequences is based on the cultural 
development of our biological capacity 
for language. Nowhere is there an 
inescapable affront to the principle of 
scientific determinism. 


by John T. McNulty 

No man can have a significant impact on 
his own age, be it at the level of the 
community or on the larger stages of state 
and nation, who does not possess informed 
beliefs and convictions, for without them 
he will neither initiate nor support 
causes for the betterment of society. 

If his convictions are founded upon 
misconceptions, half-truths, or a narrow 
view of reality, the impact of the 
individual will be more often harmful 
than beneficial. We are all aware that 
some of humanity's greatest crimes have 
been committed by well-meaning people of 
deep convictions who were lacking in that 
breadth of knowledge and its products, 
understanding and wisdom, which might have 
tempered their actions. 

To lay the foundation of the kind of 
knowledge I have in mind is, I believe, 
the ultimate purpose of a general 
education curriculum. Convictions are a 
necessity if we are to live a purposive 
life, one with meaning for ourselves and 
value for society. But those convictions 
must be based upon truth; and truth is a 
lifelong quest — one not achieved alone by 
the bachelor's degree or the master's, or 
even that of the doctor. However, the 
formal studies undertaken in pursuit of 
such degrees are the high road to a broad, 




Goose pimple cold 

of moist green garden snakes 

before they crumple and dash. 


April rain 

saturating garments 

in creaking cloakrooms. 


The piercing palate chill 
of maple nut cream 
gobbled too soon. 


July elongated 

rustic roads 


in forest distance 

at a green pool 

with diving board. 


Angelus bells 
bidding holy pauses 
in the noontime hush 
of locust days. 

— Arnold Bartini 

wide-ranging knowledge and the creating of 
a mind that is open to truth. It is 
fundamental that the truly educated man so 
respects truth that he will admit of no 
compromise, no matter how unwelcome truth 
may be. 

This is obviously a tremendously high goal 
and one which I am not satisfied can be 
fully realized without a significant 
degree of spiritual motivation. In any 
event, educators have no choice but to 
push towards it with all the resources at 
their command. 

No means to this end is more important 
than the study of Western civilization. 
It gives the inquirer a general view of 
the basic ideas and values which underlie 
the way of life he has inherited, and a 
comprehension of the great influences 
which have changed the course of history, 
his history: the Renaissance, the 
Reformation, the Enlightenment, the 
scientific revolution, the ideological 
movements of the nineteenth and twentieth 
centuries. Without knowledge of this 
background, how can he judge the events of 
his own time with perspective and wisdom? 

Beyond this, the course in Western 
Civilization reveals great men achieving, 
likewise failing — and often succeeding in 
the wake of failure. It provides the 
student with examples drawn from life of 
injustice, bigotry, and fanaticism as it 
endows him with the historical insight to 
analyze their tragic consequences. He 
learns from contemplation of the Western 
tradition that progress in human affairs 
is generally, often agonizingly, slow. 
He comes to know that, although the world 
cannot be changed overnight, men of 
courage and good will have made lasting 
contributions to the welfare of their 
fellows . 

In a word, the study of Western man's 
struggle to attain a truly human way of 
life is a fount of wisdom which it is 
insane to overlook in the training of 
young people. 

Yet, as indicated above, no single course, 
nor even an entire curriculum, can produce 
of itself a balanced, rational, enlight- 
ened human being. I hold such a one to 
be, rather, the living issue of years of 
study — either formal or informal — 
integrated with experience, and the whole 

reflected upon. I would be surprised to 
see this blessed state achieved before age 
forty, or even fifty, for man's passions 
can be kept from clouding his reason only 
after years of unremitting effort. 

But the process has to begin somewhere, 
and I contend that at the college level it 
best begins with the study of Western 
experience, wherein are found the 
dominating influences and pivotal events 
which have given shape to modern life. 
Only in this context may all that is 
learned in other disciplines be understood 
and integrated. 

This last is primary. Unless knowledge 
and experience harmonize in the life of 
reason and cumulate into a compelling 
vision of truth and certitude, the 
educated man cannot act with a sense of 
conviction in support of positions and 
causes which are difficult and often 
unpopular . 

Let these reflections speak for the value 
of the study of Western civilization as a 
critical element in the general education 
curriculum from which a college student 
hopes to gain an understanding of the 
world in which he lives. 


Samples of Sarah Clarke's Newsweek Watch. 
The full version is at the library desk. 

"Sadat in Israel." November 28, pp. 36- 
46. Cover story of the historic first 
official visit of an Arab leader to Israel 
since the birth of that nation in 1948. 
Subsequent coverage of the Mideast crisis: 

December 5, pp. 24-34 
December 12, pp. 51-53 
December 19, pp. 20-22 
December 26, pp. 73-74 
January 2, pp. 12-14 
January 9, pp. 28-31 
January 16, pp. 40-47 
January 30, pp. 41-49 
February 13, pp. 37-40 
February 20, pp. 35-38 

"Texas! The Superstate." September 12, 
pp. 36-46. After years of tall tales and 
crude excesses, the state of the Union 
(and acknowledged state of mind) called 
Texas has become an economic and cultural 
superstate . 

"How Men Are Changing." January 16, pp. 
52-61. The habits of male supremacy, 
although deeply ingrained in the macho 
image, are slowly giving way to a much 
fuller range of sensibilities. 

"Hail and Farewell." January 23, pp. 16- 
24. The nation's tribute to Hubert H. 
Humphrey, dead of cancer at the age of 66. 

"Lord of the Piano." January 23, pp. 62- 
68. In a golden age of young virtuoso 
pianists, 73-year-old Vladimir Horowitz 
maintains an unchallenged reputation as a 
master of musical nuance. 

"Crisis in the Liberal Arts." February 6, 
pp. 69-70. Job-oriented education strips 
grads of ability for ordinary discourse. 


Arnold Bartiui, Assistant Professor of 
English, is a longtime student of the 
work of Robert Frost. 

Samuel H. Clarke is Associate Professor 
of Psychology. 

Sarah Clarke is Head of the Circulation 
Department and Librarian of the Teacher 
Resources Center in the college library, 

Michael Haines, Assistant Professor of 
English, is a medievalist, freelance 
journalist, and outdoorsman. 

Richard C. Lamb, Mayor of North Adams, is 
a 1971 graduate of Williams College, cum 
laude in history. 

Charles A. Mclsaac, Director of Library 
Services, pursues an avocational interest 
in problems of the environment. 

John T. McNulty, Associate Professor of 
History, has a major commitment to the 
implications of the Western tradition.